It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much – the wheel, New York, wars and so on – whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man – for precisely the same reasons.”The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy (Ch. 23)
AUTHOR: Douglas Adams
YEAR OF PUBLISH: 1979
Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker’s began on radio, and developed into a “trilogy” of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was completed after Adams’ death.
For people who are new to the ‘Book-reading’ world and are having trouble remembering where they have heard the name of the book before, might be more than interested to know that Douglas Adams wrote three stories for Doctor Who (let’s admit it, we all love watching Doctor Who). He passed away suddenly in 2001 at the young age of 49.
His book ‘The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy’ is considered to be a milestone in the whole wide world of incredible ideas which is much evident by the fact that it sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime, as mentioned above (and still counting).
The Story starts with Arthur Dent, or rather with ‘Not a remarkable house’ of Arthur Dent who worked in local radio and has been living in the house for 3 years. It hadn’t properly registered with Arthur that the council wanted to knock his house down and build a bypass. It was Thursday morning that he blearily woke up, opened the window, saw a bulldozer, found his slippers and stomped off to the bathroom to wash. However, he was later found lying in front of the bulldozer in his garden path.
His friend Ford Prefect, who was actually the last remaining survivor of the planet somewhere in Betelguise part of the galaxy, arrives at the scene with something very important to tell Arthur. Ford tries to trick the Union representative Mr. L Prosser who was there to demolish Arthur’s house because it was decided 9 months ago and the plans were in the display department – which is in the cellar, ‘where the plans were on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware the Leopard’. Ford tricks and takes Arthur to the local pub where he tells him where he really is from, shows him the electronic book he has called the ‘The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy’ which is like an encyclopedia with the words ‘DON’T PANIC’ written in bold on the cover and that in a few minutes the earth is going to be destroyed by Vogons. This was because the Galactic Hyperspace Planning commission wants to build a Hyperspatial express route and earth was in the way and the plans were available there in the Alpha Centauri office since a few years now.
The earth gets destroyed but Ford escapes with Arthur on the ship of the Vogons where they gets captured and gets thrown out in open space.
Meanwhile in the other part of the galaxy, the president Zaphod Beeblebrox steals a new ship called Heart of Gold, which completely changes the way of hyperspace travel, can take anyone anywhere in a matter of minutes instead of years and works on improbability drive, after it was unveiled by him.
The ship saves Arthur and Ford just 2 seconds before their potential death. They meet Zaphod who is a cousin of Ford and once crashed a party on earth where he steals a girl with whom Arthur had a chance with, Trillion – the girl, a doctor in mathematics who Zaphod steals from Earth, the annoyingly cheerful computer and a depressed robot Marvin.
Zaphod explains why he stole the ship – which was to find a legendary and mysterious planet Magrathea which is believed to have been dead for 5 million years now and once used to cater to the demands of the ultra rich in the galaxy and used to build entire planets for the right amount of money. They land and soon find out that the earth was infact designed by them on behest of mice which actually have been fooling humans for a long time and which projected as mice on earth’s dimension but were actually looked quite like humans on their planet. Also, Earth have actually been a computer designed on their request by Magrathea to find out the ultimate question to the answer forty-two (The question they initially wanted the answer of was the meaning of life).
They soon escape the planet after the Mice asks Arthur to hand over his brain (“for a suitable replacement, of course”) as his brain was ‘an organic part of the penultimate configuration of the computer program’ and heads over to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which makes the next book of the 5 book series.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy has always enjoyed a cult classic status and has been admired by everyone who has ever read them which includes even the well known people such as Neil Gaiman, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry to name a few. In my opinion, this simple review is highly unlikely (or improbable) to do this extraordinary book justice and so I think the below snapshot of the Foreword by Russell T Davies, the writer and producer of Doctor Who and Torchwood pretty much sums it up:
…and I couldn’t agree more.
This book is so amazing and fun to read it exudes an almost magical quality and takes the reader on a mind-boggling, rib-tickling journey. The ideas are so incredible that one can say that it takes you down the rabbit hole and deeper into the chocolate factory all at the same time!
All I can say at the end of this review is that this is one of those books that every book lover must possess just like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
The right amount of science mixed with the right amount of crazy with a dash of extraordinary ideas.
An absolute Must Read for every ordinary and extraordinary individual out there!